Category Archives: Olio

Olio – 2/12/15

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things


Bread day.  Grandson is being stretched each day to a healthier more natural diet.  Fast food is being reduced and the selection less Wendy’s and more Wicked Taco in choice. He has been pretty good about beverages, drinking milk, water, or lemonade if out but he has his quirks.  His favorite foods used to be spaghetti with sauce and cheese or “cheese sandwich all cooked up” (we know them as grilled cheese), but then for some reason, he decided he didn’t like cheese.  He loves pizza and lasagna, even our cheese and spinach stuffed ravoli, but insists he doesn’t like cheese.  The first time I made corn bread he refused to even try it.  Now he asks for it.  The first herb and onion bread I made for them, he went to his room and skipped dinner rather than even be at the table with it. His preferred bread is “balloon bread,” though he will eat commercial Honey Wheat.  In an effort to eliminate more colors and preservatives from his diet, I set out to make loaves of similar texture without the additives.  He also insists that his bread have the commercial shape.  This morning’s results may pass his test.  The Honey Wheat bread I made is light in texture and was allowed to rise well over the rim of the pan before baking.  We are going to make his lunch for tomorrow without saying anything and see how it goes.


When they moved here and we purchased twin over double bunk beds for the room, he being the oldest got the top bunk.  To read or write in his journal at night, he had to climb back down to put the book or journal on the night table then climb back up to sleep.  A few days ago, his Mom hauled out her fabrics and snaps and we made him a pouch that holds his book, journal and a couple of pencils that snaps with straps over the side rail of his bed.  He was really excited when he came home from school and saw it.  To complete the idea, his Mom gave him a clip on book light that clips to the rail as well.


In spite of Daughter’s Tom Boyishness growing up, granddaughter is a little girly girl and she does not like loud noise, though she can screech like a banshee herself when upset.  She also has had an unnatural fear reaction to the typical bugs found in a mountain house in the middle of a hay field, the occasional Lady Bug, Stink Bug, house fly or little spiders.  I don’t like spiders either, but I don’t run shrieking from the room if I see one. Little by little, we have been trying to help her overcome both.  When I find a Lady Bug alive, I will pick it up in her presence and she has let me put it on her shirt.  She will hold a dead one, but still not a live one.  She now points out stinkbugs, dead or alive instead of screaming and waits for her brother or an adult to remove it.  Flys and spiders are still a work in progress.  I managed to get to her “scoop up” a Lady Bug carcass and some dog hair with the mini vacuum that she had been terrified of.  You still have to warn her that you are turning it on, but she no longer runs crying from the room and she will use it herself now.

imageMy girls having some quiet time after dropping brother off at his very early school bus.  She wiggled and squirmed on and over her Mom then fell asleep with her head on Mom’s hip and covered in the blanket Mom had draped over her own legs.  They slept like that for about an hour.

Our spring like days fled overnight.  Our high of 32f (0c) occurred at 6 a.m. and we are falling to 8f (-13.33c) tonight.  It is snowing but not really expected to accumulate much and we are under another high wind warning and wind chill warning.  I’m betting that schools have at least a 2 hour delay tomorrow. The weekend nights are expected to be around 0f (-17.8c).  Monday was to be a school holiday, but is now scheduled to be a weather make up day and we are being threatened with several inches of snow on Monday and Tuesday, so it might yet be a school holiday and the make up day will have to be made up along with another day.

Son #1 and Grandson #1 are bringing my car home on Friday night and staying for the weekend before riding a bus back home.  It will be good to see them.  The weather will be in the teens so I don’t think we will get the compost bin disassembled and relocated this weekend.  Maybe he will help us build a “dress up” closet for Granddaughter’s dress up clothes.


My current knitting project is a 320 stitch Moebius cowl.  The pattern is Gradient cowl and as I don’t have truly gradient yarn, but rather a cake that had 5 equal amounts of increasing darker yarns, I working from lighter to darker using one color, then alternating in the next darker color for a few rows, then using the darker color and so on.  I am on the third color now and will end up with a cowl about 38-40″ long by 5-6″ wide.  I think that there will be enough yarn left to make a hat, though probably not the one I want to make as I would like to knit Wurm on Ravelry using the gradient colors from light at the face edge and the darkest at the top.  The yarn is Green Dragon Yarns Sport weight in Teal.  As David has closed his shop and is no longer dying yarn, I want to use up every inch of it that I can and treasure it.

Olio – November 13, 2014

Olio: a miscellanous collection of things.

My blogging goes through spits and spurts, sometimes my creativity is just not there, or focused on other issues.  As the winter sets in, I am more content to sit and read or knit, sometimes both at the same time, if my book is on my tablet and my knitting is mindless.  I have been going through books at a record rate lately, some of them not worthy of mention, but several quite noteworthy.  The Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline fascinated me.  The period of time related to my Dad’s young life and I recommended it to him and my stepmom.  They both loved it too and set out on some research to see if her grandfather was one of the orphans.  He was an immigrant orphan, adopted in that part of the US.  They are still trying to prize out information for her, and her mother’s maiden name happens to be Baker.  The Glassblowers, Petra Durst-Benning, a translation from German totally enthralled me. A loose historical fiction of the glassblowing village of Lauscha in Germany and three young women as they struggle to survive and break the gender barrier to create some of the earliest blown glass Christmas ornaments.  Another good one was The Light Between Ocean’s, M. L. Stedman, a tale of love, loss, and deception, set at a lighthouse off Western Australia.


This is Yellow Cat, a sickly intact male barn kitty that rarely goes to the barn, spending much of his day on our front porch.  He is a rescue that was born with Feline Aids and can’t be neutered because every time we try to take him to the vet, he has a rhinovirus attack.  He is pitiful, wheezes like Darth Vader, but is loving, friendly with the dogs, and keeps most of the mice out of the house by his presence.  He was enjoying the 5 minutes of morning sunshine we had on this brisk cloudy day.  We certainly aren’t suffering the cold and snow of parts of the country, but the temperature is 20 degrees below normal for this time of the year and we are having snow flurries and very cold in the teens nights.
On my way to my spinning group today, riding shotgun for hubby, I finished knitting granddaughter #1’s sweater. The ends are woven in, it has been washed and is blocking on the downstairs bed. I can’t decide whether to use plain buttons the color of the sweater or go looking for something cute and three year old appropriate. I guess I’ll decide that tomorrow. I still have two kid sweaters to get done by Christmas, then I will get back to my own sweater.

I did get some spinning done today. My arthritic right thumb has been noncooperative lately and so I have only played a bit with the Turkish drop spindle, but today I spun on my wheel. Though I’m not a fan of pink and am not sure why I bought fiber that color, the darker purples and grays are making an interesting single.

Loving life on our mountain farm.

Olio – October 28, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

We have had two absolutely gorgeous days in a row with mild nights.  It has been windy off and on, but Mountaingdad has had two great motorcycle outings, probably the last two of the season.  Tomorrow we return to fall weather, late fall weather, if the weather prognosticators are correct we will see snow flurries on Saturday.  I am definitely not ready for the white stuff or any frozen form of precipitation.  If it does happen, the pumpkins vines will finish dying off and the rest of the harvest will be made, the pepper plants and tomatillo plants will be tossed in the chicken pen for them to pick over.  I really need to get the garlic planted and well mulched before the ground freezes.

While Mountaingdad was off riding, I was enjoying quiet time at home.  Having planned on running errands and perhaps getting lunch out, instead I read, ate leftovers and did a bit of yard and garden work.  Late yesterday, a package I had been awaiting arrived, a Turkish Spindle from Snyder Spindles on Etsy.  I learned to spin on a top whorl spindle and wish I had learned on a Turkish spindle.  After watching a You Tube to see how to set it up, I was off quickly spinning some maroon colored Merino.  I love the way you wind the single on the spindle to create a center pull ball that can then be plied with another ball or plied off of itself.  Though most of my spinning is done on a wheel, it is nice to have a spindle that is portable to take when visiting our kids.  A few ounces of fiber and the spindle take up little room in my bag.


As I was spinning the fiber, I realized how similar in color it is to the yarn that I am using to knit the fingerless mitts to go with my hat and scarf.  I had hoped that the mitts wouldn’t be needed for quite a while yet, but they may be welcome in just a day or two.  I was unhappy with the first one and selected a different pattern to make it over and make the second one.  I don’t really have enough done to show them off yet.

On Sunday, we were notified by one neighbor that another neighbor who we knew had been sick and hospitalized but released and home for a few days had been taken back to the hospital by ambulance and his prognosis was poor.  This saddened us as he was one of the first neighbors we met and though we were wary of him at first, he and his wife had become friendly with the strangers in their midst.  We were even more saddened to learn yesterday morning that he had passed Sunday evening with his family by his side.  He and his wife are our age contemporaries on the mountain. He has had several health issues over the past couple of years and their cumulative effect were more than his body could take this time.  Our hearts go out to his family at this time.

Today we found out that the company proposing the pipeline has filed their preliminary paperwork with FERC, so letter writing will occupy our time for a few days.  Tonight we are attending a meeting on our legal rights.  There may be nothing we can do, but we are going to fight to the end on this project.  As oil prices drop, fracking become less desirable and new wells aren’t drilled.  Keep hoping that the oil prices drop low enough to stop this.  A sign we saw in town says it all, “Stop the fracking pipeline.  Preserve the NRV.”  If you want to read more about this issue, go to  While you are looking, do a search for the pipeline explosion in Appomattox, VA in 2008 and look at the photos of the damage that a much smaller pipeline explosion wrought.




Olio – October 24, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Our internet issues seem to be finally resolved, many months and many mistakes later, we are back with our original cell provider and our original internet/phone provider.  The lines have been repaired, the speed boosted as much as it can be boosted given our physical distance from the nearest booster from our small community cooperative telephone/internet provider.  They also provide cable TV service, but their HD is not HD, so we opt to receive cable elsewhere.  Life was so much simpler with an antenna, a house phone line, no internet and no cell phones; cheaper too.

The sweater was ripped out and restarted using a yoke pattern instead of a raglan pattern, the sleeves have been put on waste yarn and the body is being worked slowly.  This pattern is from one of Ann Budd’s formula books, so it should fit.


The twisty rib pattern at the top is interesting.  Hopefully it will block into a nice yoke for the sweater that is otherwise very plain.

As the sweater has already gotten too bulky to want to tote around with me when I am the car passenger, I finally started the mitts that are made of Unplanned Peacock Superwash Merino in a colorway named for me as it was dyed especially for me to match a skein I purchased from her several years ago and from which I designed and made Ruby Hat ( and later Ruby Scarf (, both free patterns on Ravelry.  Ruby Hat is my favorite hat and has its own story, but that is for another day.  The mitts are also being made from one of Ann Budd’s formula books to wear with the hat and scarf or just around the house at night when my hands get cold.  They are the perfect portable pocket project for the car.


I am frequently amused at questions I get from folks that I know have grown up their entire lives in this rural county.  Today, the phone/internet installer saw my chickens wandering about the yard and ask me very innocently if my hens were laying now that the weather is cooling down.  My response was yes, except for the one who was molting.  I could tell from his expression that he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about and he said his egg production from 10 hens was down to only a couple each day.  I asked him how old his hens were and most of them are only about a year and a half old, so experiencing their first molt this season, thus his lack of eggs.  He also wasn’t feeding them any calcium, not even giving them back their own shells.  He left educated by the city girl with a ziplock sack of crushed oyster shell to free feed his hens and a promise that once their feathers were back in that he would start seeing eggs again.  He also was surprised that Son#1 and I could kill and process our culls and meat birds.  He said though he could shoot and dress a deer, he wasn’t sure he could do a chicken.  Our flock is enjoying their daily freedom to dig in the gardens, to look for bugs and tender blades of grass.  When we need them safely away from the dogs or driveway, I just go out like the Pied Piper with my little cup of scratch that I shake and they come running and follow me back to the safety of the electric fence.

The pumpkin vines are dying back more each day and revealing more of the winter squash.  I thought that only the Burgess Buttercup survived and that I didn’t get any Seminole pumpkins, but realize that it is a half and half mix, except the pumpkins for the most part haven’t turned tan.  The ones that I picked and put on the picnic table are beginning to turn.  The wormy ones get split with a hatchet and thrown into the chicken run for them to enjoy.  A side benefit is that the seeds are a natural anti parasitic for the chickens.  The peppers and tomatillos survived the cold nights predicted in the last post.  I am letting the remaining fruits mature until we are threatened again and I will do another harvest.  The last batch was made into another 4 pints of Tomatillo/Habanero sauce, the hottest batch yet.  Maybe I should change it’s name from XXX to Insanity.  I sure can’t eat it, but Son#1 will love it.  The Farmers’ Market last week had many vendors of apples.  I came home with another peck of mixed crisp red apples and realizing that they would not stay crisp until we finished them all, I used about a third to make another batch of Apple Cranberry Chutney (, using 1 cup of honey instead of brown sugar this time.  The shelves are full of goodies even after having taken two crates of canned goodness to Northern Virginia on the last two trips to return son and grandson.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm and continuing to gather knowledge to fight the pipeline.


Olio, October 6, 2014

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

The garden survived a 31ºf night and a 37ºf night through the aid of some row cover over the peppers and tomatillos.  The beans that haven’t been eaten by the deer that have breeched the electric fence also survived.  The pumpkins/winter squash patch is finally beginning to die back and there are dozens of the Burgess Buttercup squash beginning to show through.  So far I don’t see a single Seminole Pumpkin which is disappointing.  Today I waded through the thigh high patch, pulled back the squash vines and tried to dig the sweet potatoes.


I’m sure there are more there, but the vines will have to die back more before I try again.  Now that they are harvested, they require a few days of curing at 80ºf.  I don’t know how that will happen with the daytime temperatures at least 15 degrees lower than that and we haven’t turned the heat on in the house so it is 20 degrees cooler.  I put them out on a rack in the sun this morning, but then the rains started, so they are in the utility room until we see sunshine again.

In July when visited our daughter’s family in Florida, our granddaughter came out in the cutest sun dress.


She and her mom love it because she can dress herself in it and it has no fasteners.  Over confident Mountaingmom announced, “That would be so easy to make.”  The bodice was traced on printer paper, the tiers measured approximately and brought home to the farm.  Later two packets of fat quarters were purchased and I stalled.  Before the Spinning retreat, I decided to begin them.  First off, I failed to cut the front on a fold, I do know better.  Second error was attempting to use three strands of narrow elastic to gather the back, I ended up buying wide underwear elastic later.  Third error was in the measurements I had made of the ruffles which I realized before cutting.  Daughter remeasured everything for me and a few days ago, I got serious about finishing the first dress.


Yesterday after finishing it, I decided that dress #2 was going to be made with a pattern and I purchased a simple A-line toddler dress pattern from McCall.  As I still wanted to use the fat quarter that I bought for the second dress, The solution was to cut wide strips, sew them end to end, then side to side to create a large striped panel that was used to cut the pattern.  I had some unbleached muslin that I used as facing as the pattern called for binding the edges with bias tape and I didn’t want to do that. Dress #2 was much easier to assemble.


As granddaughter lives in Florida, she will be able to wear them all year with a long sleeve T-shirt under them, so 3 T’s were bought to add to the package.  Also in the package is a giraffe.  Yes, a giraffe.  Two Christmases ago, we bought her a little barn that has various activity parts to it and a collection of farm animals to put inside.  Their dog got a couple of the animals and chewed them up, some of which were replaced, she selected a moose for her farm.  Near their home is a farm that has a giraffe.  We don’t know why or how they obtained it, but it is a source of amusement as we drive by, so her barn will now also have a giraffe.

The Hot Mess yarn that I spun at the retreat, was soaked and hung with a weight on it.  The treatment helped relax the over twist some, so now I have a 106 yard skein of smooth, but tight yarn.


I have no idea what to do with it.  It is too little for anything other than trim on something.  There isn’t even enough to make a market bag.

The yarn on the bobbin is the random color Merino that I purchased at the retreat.  The color isn’t showing up very well with no sun out and only house lighting to photograph it in, but it is basically lilac color with gold and maroon highlight.  I haven’t finished plying it yet to measure, but it looks like it will be a couple hundred yards of fingering weight yarn.


Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.


Olio – September 10, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

At times I consider whether I should just rename my blog Olio as most posts fly all over the place.  It is only mid morning on a day that the weather prognosticators said would be mostly sunny and dry, but instead it is thickly overcast and too humid again to paint or stain.  The grass too wet with dew to mow.  This isn’t to say that the morning has been idle, no instead a load of laundry has been folded, Grand #1’s bed remade from his weekend visit; another load of laundry washed and currently drying; the chicken coop refreshed with a turn of the old hay and an addition of new hay; the meaties chicken tractor given a good layer of hay in the bottom as it is currently more or less permanently set at the end of the 6 foot wide run to contain the 5 week old chickies and it was beginning to not smell so pleasant.  Another huge bucket of tomatoes have been harvested, though I haven’t begun to process them yet, as I can’t decide what this batch will become, probably just plain diced tomatoes.  Just in the last couple of days, the tomato vines have begun to fade.


There are still plenty of tomatoes to harvest, but this is a signal of the end of the summer growing season.  This morning, the spent cucumber vines were pulled and tossed to the chickens to peck at the last few cukes and the bugs on the vines.  Each year I begin the season faithfully pinching suckers from the tomato plants and trying to contain the branches within the cages and by this time each year, the branches have fallen over and through the cages and the plants look pitiful.  Perhaps next year I will use strong stakes instead of cages and tie the plants up as they grow taller, being more faithful about leaving only one main stem.  Next year, they will have the rich soil of the compost bins as we remove the wood from them this winter to expand the garden and create a more reasonably sized compost bin in a new location.  So much of the stuff that used to go into the compost, now goes to the chickens and their bedding becomes the compost, so having the bin near the coop door on the edge of the garden would make more sense.  That area is where I planted the Buttercup squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes this year and between them and my weeding efforts, the bin have remained fairly weed free this summer.


The squash have spread over the woodpile, over to the vegetable garden, into the chicken run and up the hill past the hay bales and out of the electric fence.  Many of the huge leaves have burn marks across them and cause the electric fence to pop as they touch it.  Yesterday as I mowed, with the fence off, I snapped off the leaves touching the fence.  I know that one day soon, I will begin to see those vines fading like the tomato vines.  The peppers are loving the cooler weather and are blooming and producing new peppers daily.  The summer squash are mostly done.  It is now a time for greens and a few radishes and turnips.

As I sit here waiting for the inspiration to can or the grass to dry for mowing, I am enjoying one of the only two magazines to which I subscribe.  The magazine is Taproot, no advertising, full of wonderful art, recipes, articles about back to a simpler time of producing your own food, making your own clothes, growing your own animals and knowing from where your goods come.  If you haven’t ever seen an issue, you should seek one out.


Each issue has a theme and each is wonderful to savor each word and save for future reference.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.


Olio – September 5, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The Rainbow Ranger chicks have exceeded 2 pounds each at 4 1/2 weeks, far outgrowing anything we have to use as a brooder. They are getting feisty with each other, chest bumping and pecking. They are mostly feathered and it is still warm to hot during the days and mild at night. They were requiring twice daily brooder clean out, had gone for a week without supplemental heat in the garage, so a decision was made today to relocate them to the auxiliary pen, confined to the chicken ark. We did concede to put a tarp over the sides and will keep our fingers crossed that we don’t lose them now. Again I vow to let my hens do the work of raising chicks from now on or we are going to have to build a bigger outdoor brooder with electricity so we can put the heat lamp in it.
The March hatched Buff Orpington pullets are almost all laying finally. We are getting 8 or 9 eggs a day and thoroughly enjoying having them again.
Between canning tomatoes and cleaning chicks, I have found time to finish my Hitchhiker scarf.


And spin and ply 383 yards of Merino wool into an interesting DK weight yarn.


Now I need to decide whether to sell it, or create something with it.
When we had a cool evening two weeks ago, I pulled out my Elise sweater I knit last year and determined that it pulled at my shoulders because it is just a bit too small for me.





I don’t have anymore of the yarn, nor do I want to reknit it as I have two other sweaters currently on needles and they are both shades of blue or teal, so I am trying to decide it’s fate.  My options are to try to sell this hand knit sweater for little more than the cost of the yarn, to try to trade it for spinning fiber, or determine if there is a relative smaller than I that would like to have a hand knit sweater that has to be hand washed.

Last weekend, I broke my second tooth of the summer.  The first required a crown and that tooth still hasn’t been finished, a temporary crown in place until mid week.  When I called the dentist, they were able to get me in yesterday and fortunately this one only needed a filling repair for now.  Being a molar, it likely will eventually need a crown as well.  I have 6 already and lost one crowned tooth because of repeated gum infections between it and the adjacent tooth.  I hope that with dental repairs and care, I will retain most of my teeth as my 91 year old father has.

It has been a good week and we continue to love our life on our mountain farm.


Olio – August 23, 2014

A few days ago in the pouring rain, we pressure washed the deck and porch in preparation for resurfacing them with one of the new deck resurface products.  As the outdoor cats often settle on the front porch and have their supplemental food on that porch, it was all moved.  One of the garage doors was open and the dog crate that is used to move the cats to the vet for rabies shots, used to transport chicks when they are purchased locally, but otherwise stored in the garage was sitting on the floor.  We prepared to leave to buy the deck resurface paint and went to close the garage door.  This is what we found. . .


This guy is our sickly male who is about 5 years old, much older than we were led to believe that he would live as he was born with Feline Aids before we rescued him.  The healthy female bolted for the barn as soon as the powerwasher was started.  I would give him access to stay there, but the 2 week old Rainbow Ranger chicks are in the brooder in the garage.  There is an old window screen over the top, but that wouldn’t stop a dedicated cat.


In spite of the rain, or maybe because of it, we have had some spectacular sunsets.  We would love to get the decks painted, but the forecast calls for one more day of rain before we finally get a period of dry days, hopefully enough to get the job done.

Tonight as I surveyed the refrigerator for dinner, I remembered about a quart of beef stew made earlier in the week and not wanting another meal of just stew, I added some vegetables and a crust and made one of my favorite comfort foods, pot pie.  Usually I make chicken or turkey pot pie, but the beef stew was just too tempting.

Broody Girl finally gave up her empty nest sit, but she still hasn’t begun to lay.  We are getting 3 eggs most days from the 13 hens and pullets.  Hopefully, we will start seeing more eggs soon.  The pullet eggs are getting larger, but as the only laying hen’s eggs are speckled, I can still distinguish who is laying.  I need at least 3 extra dozen a week to break even on their feed, since we are also feeding 15 Rainbow Ranger chicks.  The chicks are rapidly outgrowing the water tank we use as a brooder.  I am at a loss about what to do with them.  They are only 2 weeks old and still need a heat source.  The chicken tractor is hardware cloth on the lower half and I can’t get power out to it or I would consider putting plastic sheeting on the lower half and moving them there.  If any of my readers have good brooder pen idea for 15 rapidly growing meat chicks, I would love some ideas.

Most Saturday mornings, though not for the past few weeks, we travel into town, enjoy breakfast at Joe’s Diner, a local landmark then wander the Farmers’ Market for goodies.  Today we were able to get potatoes, onions, carrots, and green beans (ours are still not producing).  Some beef and pork from our favorite meat farmers and flowers for the table were scored as well.  It is such a pleasure to visit on Saturday mornings and chat with friends, pet pups and supply with goodies we aren’t producing. Today was a bit crazy in town as this week has been move in week at the University and the town is bursting with new students and parents who are bringing or returning them to school.  The summer of being able to eat at the local restaurants without a wait is over until Winter Break, but the energy they bring to the town is worth that inconvenience.

We love life on our mountain farm.

Olio August 16, 2014

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

On Thursday, I returned our eldest grandson to his home.  He had been with us since July 3 and it was a wonderful 6 weeks.  He enjoyed playing with our dogs, learned to ride his bike, traveled to Florida with us to visit his Aunt and Uncle and cousins for a week, swam, had outings with Granddad to the batting cage and several movies.  He and Granddad played catch in the yard and had batting practice.  A few times, he cooked with me, learning to make his favorite blueberry muffins and getting some math practice with measuring and calculating which measuring cups would give him the quantity he needed.  It was a relief to his Mom and Dad to not have to try to find summer care for him and figure out how to get him to and from that care when they both left very early for their jobs.

Yesterday after playing with his neighborhood friends, showing off to his Mom and Dad his new bike riding skills, having Grandmom take him to his guitar lesson, they all left at 9:30 last night on the Metro to Union Station to catch an 11:30 p.m. Greyhound bus to Virginia Beach, where he and his Mom will spend the next week with her parents.  Our son will return home to Northern Virginia on the train tomorrow so he can be at work on Monday.  His Mom’s summer job has ended and her school begins just before Labor Day.  I returned to their house to spend the night before traveling home this morning.  As I was avoiding the interstate and taking a leisurely cruise down the Skyline Drive this morning, I received a text from son saying that they were stuck in Richmond, VA, only a couple hours from their home and a couple hours from their destination almost 12 hours after leaving on the bus.  Their 4 hour trip lasted 14 hours.  There is something truly wrong with Greyhound’s business model that passengers with tickets can not have a seat on a leg of their trip.  If they hadn’t had to disembark at the transfer station in Richmond, they would have been at their destination in the early hours, not the next afternoon.

After enjoying about an hour and a half of scenic drive, I got back on the interstate, so my 4 hour trip wouldn’t take all day and like Thusday, was again stuck with the semis.


I followed these two for miles and miles doing less than 60 mph in a 70 mph zone. Behind me was a line of at least a dozen more.


It is amazing how quickly chicks grow.  These little guys and gals are a week and a half old.  They can almost get out of the brooder which is a huge stock watering tank. I guess I am going to have to put a screen over it soon.  They are all darkening and growing wing and tail feathers.  The one center front is the one I named Chipmunk because of the dark stripes on his back when I uncartoned them from the Hatchery.

Egg production is picking up.  The pullets are getting the hang of the laying bit.  In the past 6 days, we have gotten 7 pullet eggs, so I know that more than one of them is laying.  We also got 5 hen eggs, though Broody Girl is still insisting on empty nest sitting.  This has gone on now for over a month.  Perhaps I should get her some fertile eggs and just let her give it a go.


The pullet eggs are so small compared to the hen eggs.  At least we are getting some again.

The garden loved last week’s rain, the tomatoes are ripening in the sun, peppers are swelling and I am nearly overrun with Tomatillos.  I haven’t looked under the row covers to see how the transplants are doing, but they will have to be watered today or tomorrow.

My purple thick skinned grapes are ripe.  Perhaps I should attempt some grape jelly.

The weather feels like fall already.  I shouldn’t get too excited, it will probably get hot again soon.

This week, we tackle power washing the decks to re-stain.  I’m trying to figure out how we are going to keep the outdoor cats off while they dry and how we will get the dogs in and out.  I guess they will have to go through the garage, but neither of them are used to doing that, so it may require leading them out on a leash til the decks dry.

Hubby took off early this morning on a ride on his BBH (Big Bad Harley) with the Hog Club from where his bike came.  It is a ride to just get there, over an hour.  They were going to have breakfast then ride into West Virginia.  He texted me that he did go and that he was in West Virginia.  I guess I will see him later this afternoon when he returns.

When I was in Northern Virginia to pick up grandson in early July, I bought some variegated yarn at a local shop.  The yarn is one that isn’t available around here and I knit a Hitchhiker scarf from it.  I decided that I wanted a cardigan sweater of the same yarn and returned yesterday to the shop to try to purchase it.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough of it to make a sweater, but I did get a worsted weight solid that coordinates beautifully with it.  As soon as the weather is cool enough to sit with the bulk of a sweater body in my lap while knitting, I will make myself a sweater to go with my scarf.

Though it is only mid afternoon, I am tired from my travels and contemplating a short nap.  Life is an adventure!

Olio July 17, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.


Rainbow at sunset.


An overflowing 8 quart bucket of garlic now curing in the root cellar.


Peppers and sunflowers, newly planted bush beans.


Pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes taking over half of the compost bins.


Chard and sunflowers.

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Haircuts for grandson and granddad.

It has been a busy week with bike riding learning sessions for grandson and he can now ride around the bus loop, in and out of grass, stop with the brakes if he is going slow enough, ride up and down an incline, start without help and says, “This is easy!”  Why oh why did he make such a fuss just a few short days ago.

We have had several trips to the library, have done the daily writing and math practice and he is doing his chores with minimal complaint.

On a less positive note, I just got a call from my father and my sis who had Rotator Cuff surgery today, instead of going home has been put in ICU on a ventilator because of breathing problems.  Thoughts and prayers sent on the way to Kansas are welcome.